The best of both worlds

Jean Marshall says moving to Strathdon Independent Retirement Living village over seven years ago, was the best decision she’s ever made.

“I’ve got the best of both worlds,” the 91-year-old says. “I live independently, yet because I’m in a village, I feel secure and everyone here feels like one big family to me.”

Jean loves her Forest Hill unit – which is one of 40 in the pretty little village, with a few vacancies just opening - and spends her time reading, knitting, enjoying her garden and doing crossword puzzles. And of course chatting to her friends and neighbours in the complex.

Even during COVID-19 lockdown, she did not feel isolated or lonely. “There was always someone around to talk to,” she explains. “Even just nattering to each other over the fence or across the roadway, I never felt totally on my own.”

She cannot speak highly enough of the “happy atmosphere” in the village, and how quickly management responds if there is anything that needs attending to.

Jean says one of the reasons she moved in was the continuum of care, with Uniting AgeWell Strathdon Community residential care next door. “It’s a back-up plan in place for me in case I need it,” she says. “I would have no hesitation in moving in if I needed a little extra care.”

And care is something Jean knows all about. Over the years she’s nursed her father, mother, sister and brother-in-law in the lead-up to their deaths. “They’re family, it’s what you do,” she says simply.

Jean was 23 when she moved from Scotland to Melbourne with her sister and her parents. “I was delighted to be here and never see snow again,” she laughs.

The retired secretary literally stumbled into her first job. “I accompanied my sister when she went for a job interview at General Motors. After her interview, the Human Resources lady came out and offered me a job as well, which of course I took!”

Over the years Jean also worked in secretarial roles at a jewellery import business and for a firm of chartered accountants.

She has travelled widely across Australia, New Zealand and many Pacific Island countries. And she is a devoted aunt to her two nephews and their families.

“I’ve had a busy, good life,” she says. “And it’s good to know that Uniting AgeWell is there to take care of me in the years to come.”

Uniting AgeWell South East Housing officer Lee Martin says residents like Jean all have access to the array of services at the Strathdon residential facility – including the hair dressing salon, café, library, chapel, community hall, seniors gym and more.

The village also houses a communal garden, where residents grow veggies including strawberries and tomatoes.

“Residents live independently in the units and at the same time enjoy a sense of camaraderie and community with the others living there,” Lee says. “It’s great, and there’s a friendly atmosphere which contributes to a sense of togetherness and wellbeing.”

Uniting AgeWell has 20 retirement complexes across both Victoria and Tasmania.

For further information on any of these lovely retirement living options call 1300 783 435 or visit

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